Tommy Handsome's Rules of Cinematic Robotics

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Hi friends!  It’s your ol’ pal Tommy Handsome!  You know, from the Internet where you get your porn! On the latest episode of The Film Board podcast (THE AVENGER PEOPLE: AGENTS OF MR. ULTRON-MAN), I briefly brought up what I like to call my Rules Of Cinematic Robotics. And I thought I might expound upon it a bit, while already getting nervous that “expound” isn’t an actual word. But, as you might know, I hawked my BACKSPACE KEY for a handful of magic beans two years ago, so I’m unable to delete anything I’ve ever written, ever. I apply the same theory to when I talk on the podcast. Backspace? More like Back-lame! Yikes… starting to miss that key.

In any case, famous sci-fi author Isaac Asimov somehow borrowed my idea before I was born, and came up with “his” Three Laws of Robotics in a 1942 short story called, “Runaround, or the Idea That Tommy Will Have Soon (Wikipedia notification pending).” Here were his three laws:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Hey, I totally agree. And besides having the most annoyingly-spelled name in history, Isaac did a lot of early work for me. Good on ya, Isaac! But, his Laws missed a crucial point, and as such, I must add the most important Law of my own.

A robot is a robot, so stop portraying them so stupidly in films.

Robots don’t have lungs. Robots don’t need to have mouths. Robots don’t need eye-parts where eye-parts exist in humans. They’re robots.

In TEAM AVENGING: ULTRON TIME, the big baddie Ultron blinks and his mouth moves when he talks. I hate that. He doesn’t need to do any of those things. None of those make sense in a robot that talks incessantly about the fact that humans need to adapt and evolve. Mouths are the worst.  I like talking, but I’ve burned the roof of my mouth twice this week on reheated pizza already. And it’s MONDAY. Wait, I’m getting side-tracked. 

Robots don’t need to blink or talk with their mouths. We learned that from the Transformer-tastrophy that Michael Bay has unleashed on us after seemingly being molested by an explosion as a child. In one of those movies, an old Transformer coughed and then farted a parachute. That was a wonderful sequence enjoyed by no one. Robots blinking and farting is like Robots needing Claritin ‘cause of allergies or Beano ‘cause of gas. Makes no sense. Robots don’t get eczema, so don’t show them itching.  Wait, I got side-tracked again.

Two Biggest Offenders of Tommy (& Isaac)’s Rules of Cinematic Robotics in recent years:

  1. EAGLE EYE: Hey, remember EAGLE EYE?  Of course you don’t! But it was a film that was exciting for awhile and then crapped a parachute of itself at the end. It was also a pretty big hit for Shia LaBaouf before he became a human art project. Anyway, we learn (SPOILER ALERT) that the big baddie is an AI computer who’s become self-aware. Fair enough. But, there are tons of scenes where the Bad Computer has a camera-interface that looks like an eyeball, and it trains around to look at different files in its dumb computer-file series of television sets. I’M ENRAGED. Computers don’t need eyes. And they certainly don’t need an eye-looking-thing to literally look at screens.
  2. AVATAR: Hey, remember AVATAR?  The film that we collectively made the biggest grossing movie in history, and then we tried to watch it again later on HBO and shook our heads like we all came off of the biggest nation-wide hangover and wondered what all the fuss was about? Of course you do! Toward the end, the Blue Hero and the Bad Guy In A Robot Suit faced off in a big fight. Remember? It was after Sigourney Weaver died under the Tree Of Dreams or whatever for 55 minutes. Okay, caught up? Robot McJerk is facing off against Blue Man Group. And it’s a real fight! And when Robot McGee feels like the tide is turning against him, he pulls a robot knife out of a robot knife-holster (I think there’s a better word for that) and then holds it in his robot hands.

Robots don’t need holsters. Robots don’t have pants. I’m getting angry again. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST HAVE THE KNIFE COME OUT OF HIS ROBOT HAND! YOU TOOK THE TIME TO BUILD A KNIFE HOLSTER? DO YOU GET PAID BY THE STUPID-ROBOT-PLAN BY THE HOUR? INSTEAD, JUST HAVE A SHARP ROBOT PART COME OUT OF THE OTHER ROBOT PART! HIS HANDS AREN’T BUSY DOING ANYTHING BUT ROBOT THINGS! DID YOU THINK YOU NEEDED TO KEEP THE KNIFE IN THE HOLSTER TO KEEP HIS HANDS FREE? FOR WHAT? GARDENING? HE’S A GODDAMNED WAR ROBOT! HIS HANDS SHOULD BE KNIFE-GUNS AND HIS FEET SHOULD BE BULLET-GRENADES AND HIS ROBOT BUTTHOLE SHOULD SHOOT FIRE! 

… wait … what? ... sorry …

I got carried away there. I didn’t mean to e-scream as much as I did. And, I only just now remembered the word “sheath.” I really need to get my Backspace Key replaced.

It’s just that robots are robots. And they don’t need mouth-parts to talk, and they don’t need eyelids to blink, and they don’t need pockets or fanny-packs or Prilosec for their acid-reflux.

They’re robots. Let them be robots. Isaac and I would deeply appreciate it.